I get weary from hearing the following rhetoric from modern-day politicians: “I support liberty……unless (fill in your favorite qualifier).
It seems to me that, far too often, we are inundated with politicians who claim to support liberty unless it interferes with their personal interests. Such individuals are not only a threat to individual liberties, but also illustrate the consequences of failing to live by principles.
Politicians who quote the Constitution and invoke liberty only when it is convenient for them, create a bad name for those who strive to adhere to Libertarian concepts. These individuals use the concept of liberty as a tool to gain a following, but end up exploiting the main objective of the cause.
Take the case of gay marriage for instance. A true Libertarian who opposes gay marriage would say: “While I disagree with the concept of gay marriage, I fully support your right to enter into a contract with whomever so you please”. This mentality allows for freedom of conscience, as well as, guarantees equal rights to all individuals.
A false prophet of liberty, on the other hand, would utilize the following approach in a similar situation: “I’m a supporter of liberty, however, gay marriage conflicts with my personal opinion. Therefore, as long as my liberties are protected, we should ensure that gay marriage is illegal”. Such an approach not only goes against the foundations of liberty, but also gives certain individuals preference over others.
Now, I want to make it clear that the above example is not insinuating that those against gay marriage are inherently intolerant. The same concept could be applied to homosexuals that expect everyone to agree with and accept their lifestyle. Instead, it is purely an example of what happens when personal interests trump the concept of individual liberty.
Unfortunately, there will always be individuals who claim to support liberty but fail to act if their personal interests are not involved. On a regular basis, we are exposed to politicians who claim to support freedom of choice and individual liberties but end up supporting regulations that cut deeper and deeper into the liberties of a select few.
My call to action is to encourage those who support liberty not to fall victim to this trap. If you choose to be selective with whom deserves liberty, you are no true lover of freedom. In this coming election season, it is more important than ever to support candidates who are not selective where liberty is concerned. Let’s be sure to elect politicians who continue to support liberty, even when it conflicts with their personal interests.